Nepal’s Last Dancing Bear Is Finally Free

After months of waiting, rescuers are celebrating a victory for Nepal’s last dancing bear, who is finally on his way to a sanctuary.

Late last year, rescuers from World Animal Protection, the Jane Goodall Institute Nepal and Wildlife SOS, in partnership with local police, saved the last two known dancing bears in Nepal who were being mistreated and illegally used to entertain people.

The two sloth bears, Rangila, a 19-year-old male, and Sridevi, a 17-year-old female, had both clearly suffered as a result of years of torment. They both had their noses pierced with a hot rod and had ropes run through the holes to control them, and both had their teeth damaged. They also both showed stereotypical signs of stress, including cowering and pacing.

This rescue marks the end of Nepal’s cruel and illegal bear dancing industry.

In the middle of the night on Tuesday…

Posted by World Animal Protection on Sunday, January 7, 2018

The two were supposed to be temporarily moved to Parsa National Park before being taken to a sanctuary, but they were instead inexplicably sent to a substandard zoo where they’ve remained since their rescue.

Sridevi tragically died there before ever knowing freedom, but rescuers didn’t give up on their efforts to get Rangila who remained there waiting.

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Alan Knight OBE, CEO of International Animal Rescue (IAR), explained:

After the death of Sridevi it became even more urgent to get Rangila out of the zoo which was clearly unable to provide adequate care for the bears. The mistreatment and neglect both animals had suffered as dancing bears had taken a heavy toll on their physical and mental health. When they were first rescued off the streets of Nepal, they were due to come straight to the Agra Bear Rescue Facility which is part-funded by IAR and managed by our partners Wildlife SOS. However, instead, somehow the bears ended up languishing in a zoo which is known for its poor standards of animal welfare.

Now, after months of waiting and negotiations, Wildlife SOS secured the necessary paperwork to move him, and he’s now on his way to the Agra Bear Rescue Facility in India.

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Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder & CEO Wildlife SOS, stated:

We are grateful to the Government authorities and the Director General of Forests of both India and Nepal as well as the Jane Goodall Institute, Nepal for extending their cooperation and support to facilitate this repatriation effort, without which this would have not been possible. This is a unique effort and India is proud to bring their wild citizen home!

His journey will be a long one, but IAR noted he will be constantly monitored along the way, and the team, which is being escorted by police and support vehicles, will make frequent stops to let him eat and rest.

When he arrives, he will finally get the care and retirement he deserves and will hopefully be able to put his traumatic past behind him.

“Once he reaches the Wildlife SOS Bear Rescue Centre in India, Rangila will receive extensive and specialised veterinary care. He will have a large forested enclosure with a pool, lots of trees to climb and other bears to play with. The most important thing is that he will be able to display natural behaviour like a sloth bear should,” said Geeta Seshamani, Co-founder & Secretary Wildlife SOS.

Photo credit: International Animal Rescue

151 comments

Stephanie G
Stephanie G5 months ago

Something that concerns me about removing dancing bears from circuses, or sun bears from bile farms, or rescuing old and infirmed working elephants from Asian logging camps, or abused elephants from tourist destinations or Indian temples or ones forced to beg in the streets or beaten into submission in American circuses, etc, etc, etc, is that the aims of the brave rescuers are very admirable – but surely the animals’ owners will simply go out and acquire new (replacement) young animals (and abuse them) to replace the old animals that have been rescued (and are probably of little or no further use to the abusive owners in any case)? And so the cycle of abuse simply continues, with new young animals being forcefully dragged away from their mothers, and subjected to ongoing systematic abuse. Rescuing old and infirmed abused animals is nice for the animals in question – but does it really save young animals from enduring the same abuse? Surely rescuing abused animals isn't stopping the cycle of abuse?

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Sue R
Sue R5 months ago

Good to hear.

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Julie D
Julie D5 months ago

Poor dear bear, I'm so glad at least the rest of it's life will be much more happy. Sad it had to endure such misery for such a long time.

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Georgina M
Georgina Elizab M5 months ago

TYFS Very good news

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Marija M
Marija M5 months ago

Good news, thank you very much for sharing.

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Arlene C
Arlene C5 months ago

Merci Alicia

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Janet B
Janet B5 months ago

Thanks

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Celine R
Celine Russo5 months ago

How did they end up in a zoo by mischance? And that the rescuers still had to get more paperwork when they had apparently already decided where they should have gone to???

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Jill S
Jill S5 months ago

@Jacqui G The charities had to get permission to take the bears from Nepal to India and there was countless laws, paperwork and red tape to get through. The charities that did help do everything they can but are often stalled by laws and bureaucracy. Wildlife S.O.S where Rangila will live for the rest of his life is of course a charity which depends on donations, that's what a charity is! If you want to hear more about Rangila, look up Wildlife S.O.S on facebook or twitter for updates on ALL the animals they care for.

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Renata B
Renata B5 months ago

It would be nice to have some more updates. Still thinking of the poor female who didn't make it. like Tony the Tiger. I also believe in some intentional foul play to misdirect them to that awful zoo.

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